Paul's Passing Thoughts

Why The Slandering of My Character Gives Me So Much Joy

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 20, 2016

ppt-jpeg41Really, I have much to do this morning but another correspondence came in, one of many this week (and the week is yet young), that goes something like this: “I was talking to someone who is warning me about you. What really happened at Clearcreek Chapel? Why did they bring you up on church discipline? Did you commit adultery or something like that? It’s alright if you did, just tell me so I will be ready when people discuss you.”

This is the game played by the Protestant Resurgent Church. Many of the congregants are not fully boiled yet so they can’t be told the elders have God’s very authority and can excommunicate someone for anything deemed sin by them—the cardinal one being; questioning their authority. So, they just excommunicate someone publically for say, not loving his wife like Christ loves the church, whisper: the standard is the perfection of the law, not love.

Therefore, EVERYONE under the condemnation of the law (see, “Protestant”) is guilty of everything under the law all of the time. This is why Mark Dever et al say that you are technically in the discipline batter’s box the day you join the church. You are fodder for discipline at all times, so keep your mouth shut and put your temple tax in the plate. Verily, ahhhhmen.

Hence, this actually makes the elders look gracious as the parishioners are left to their assumptions that the husband did something not even named among the Gentiles. Pretty slick: they look above the fray of gossip while avoiding the truth about the authority they claim and leaving the congregation to their own imaginations resulting in the ultimate character assassination. That’s a lot of heavy work accomplished in one sitting. Perhaps we should complement their efficiency.

But this is all good news for me, and I write this post full of joy. Please, if you have heard something bad about me, do share. I know that it goes on a lot behind closed doors, but how is one to be encouraged if you only talk of him secretly? Look, I know that your bundle of encouragement probably pales to what is out there, viz, I tried to murder the Clearcreek elders, I committed adultery, I moved to Indiana to hide from the IRS (this accusation was presented by an elder that owed the IRS over $100,000 and had his assets frozen), I am a drunkard, I abandoned my family, presumably with my mistress and left no forwarding address or money to live on, etc., etc., etc., but do tell anyway. Just ask the guy who shared last week by telephone how hard I was laughing.

The Bible states plainly that laughter is good for the bones. Why deprive me of such joy? When I began this ministry, it was founded on my first morsel of truth obtained as a recovering Protestant: the Spirit only uses truth, and eventually, the hammer of truth will start making a dent. Seek truth, truth, truth, and leave the results to the Spirit. This is what kept me going when only 20 people were coming to my blog per day. The standard was one, so 20 was pretty good to me. Since then, views range from 150 to 800, and we have hit 2000 on at least one day. We still haven’t figured out what the trends are, but the higher numbers used to be event-driven, but that is no longer the case. BUT…NOTHING spells e-f-f-e-c-t-i-v-e-n-e-s-s like slander. I will take the slander over numbers any day.

Nevertheless, let me make the vetting of these various and sundry accusations very simple. Several formidable evangelicals who know the Clearcreek Chapel elders personally not only fellowshipped with me after the fact, but invited me to participate in their ministries. Why? They know the discipline was totally bogus. One of these men, a former associate pastor at Clearcreek Chapel, even tried to get Peacemaker Ministries involved in the situation. In addition, and again, after the fact, some of these ministries shared very sensitive inside information with me concerning ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) that would be gut-wrenching if made public. That clearly speaks to trust.

So obviously, it doesn’t add up. But, I can go public with this stuff at any given time. However, again, this wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as the slander.

Slander is confirmation that truth is a big problem for them. Nothing is more satisfying than to see the wild animals of falsehood cornered with the truth and lashing out in desperation.

paul

 

Utterly Shameless: Egotism of Local Pastors Far More Important Than People’s Lives

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 10, 2015

CCCRegardless of the outrageous behavior of Clearcreek Chapel located in Springboro, Ohio, local pastors continue to associate with the Chapel elders and participate in its “ministry.” The well documented creepiness of the leadership aside, first and foremost is the concern regarding reports that this ministry still receives from people who have entered the “biblical” counseling program at CCC. The Chapel elders, particularly its director Greg Cook, continue to snuff out marriages that arrive there as smoldering wicks. And apparently, Cook is still living up to his reputation for verbally abusing counselees. Cook’s penchant for rubbing his eyes while aping a baby crying as a way to mock husbands continues to be a report that we hear of since circa 2007.

At issue is their view of church authority: they clearly believe they have authority over families who have been referred to them. Imagine a pastor counseling a wife alone and telling her that her husband’s theology is “180 degrees” from the truth. No pastor, I repeat, no pastor has the right to diminish a woman’s view of her husband in any way, shape, or form. Any counselor worth their salt knows that spouses need little help in that area, and it is not beneficial to any marriage in any way.

The pattern over eight years has become abundantly clear: the CCC elders first ascertain which spouse is going to submit to their authority, and then work to separate the “foolish” spouse from the other. Sadly, some go there seeking to merely make their marriage better, and end up on the verge of divorce six months later. The errant spouse who would dare question the CCC anointed, usually the husband, is then slandered in various and malicious ways to gain assumptions from the congregations that are involved.

One of their favorite tactics is to ask flock groups for a love offering on behalf of the poor abused wife when no such financial need exists. Obviously, it sends the message that said husband is not supporting his family. Existing side by side financial documentation supports this accusation, and I assume CCC continues to use this ploy. This was employed by Greg Cook in 2008 against a counselee while he himself was indebted to the IRS for, according to one source, 180,000 dollars. Another favorite tactic is to exaggerate family problems and suggest that a family member live with a parishioner for awhile. Particularly when it is a daughter, the assumptions that result are evident. And of course, no repertoire of sanctified slander would be complete without the public “unspoken prayer request” for the spouse chained to another who does not appreciate the superior mantle placed on Reformed elders by the Almighty.

In short, the CCC elders have a long and documented history of character assassination that would have made Adolf Hitler blush. At least in two cases, husbands took their families and fled the state of Ohio while two other attempts by others failed. In these attempts to get one’s family away from CCC, the CCC elders counter by claiming abandonment. These are wicked tyrants who should be avoided at all cost.

The CCC elders enjoyed evangelical fame as a counseling center for many years after the departure of the founding pastor, Dr. John Street who built the ministry on Jay Adams so-called first generation biblical counseling. After Street’s departure, Russ Kennedy (CCC pastor of “spiritual vision”) and company quickly moved to totally gut and reconstruct the counseling program. A group of families who had come to CCC to covertly take it over quickly moved into leadership. This group was led by the creepy New Covenant Theology guru and cultist Chad Bresson. This group, behind the scenes, despised John Street and were waiting to pounce upon his departure. The covert persecution of those whom they perceived as a threat was relentless. This is a leadership that has amassed numerous unresolved conflicts with many, many professing Christians, and the lending of credibility to them by other pastors is unconscionable.

In addition, and in true CCC form, they still allow counselees who come there to believe that they hold to Jay Adams first generation counseling when in reality, they despise Adams. As one who had breakfast with Greg Cook every Monday morning for the better part of a year, you can trust me on that one.

So then, following is a list of local pastors who insist on supporting CCC and their continued destruction of families. I deem it my duty to warn others about them because birds of the feather flock together. These pastors are endeared to CCC for one reason or another. More than likely, they are just feeding their egos on what is left of CCC’s status in biblical counseling circles, but at any rate, their associations with CCC make them a concern to the well being of hurting families.

Tim Pasma, pastor at LaRue Baptist Church, LaRue, Ohio. Continues to support CCC’s bogus counseling program.

Jim Koerber, pastor at New Covenant Life Church, Blanchester, Ohio. Continues to support the counseling program at CCC.

Danny Wright, Greenville Grace, Clayton, Ohio. Will speak at a conference hosted by CCC in March of 2016.

Joe Godwin, pastor at Patterson Park Church, Dayton, Ohio. Will speak at a conference hosted by CCC in March of 2016.

Greg Birdwell, pastor at Providence Bible Fellowship, West Chester, Ohio. Will speak at a conference hosted by CCC in March of 2016. Greg Birdwell is well aware of the numerous controversies surrounding CCC and their unreconciled status with many Christian families.  Yet, he unabashedly fellowships with them and supports them. Lest these men would pass on any opportunity to mock God, the theme of the conference hosted by CCC is, “Cultivating Companionship.”

Paul Dohse

TANC Ministries

12/10/2016

This Week’s Sinner Saved by Grace Sinning and in the News: RC Sproul Jr.

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 1, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/This week’s Reformed leader who got caught is RC Sproul Jr. The scandals are now commonplace and beginning to lose their news worthiness. Commonness doesn’t excite; it’s uncommonness that gets people’s attention. This is why the Super Bowl only takes place once a year; it’s an uncommon event.

Sproul will be suspended for eleven months (without pay?) for…well…being who he is…a “sinner.” And if the Protestant leaders are dropping like flies, what’s going on among those they are leading? I can answer that. Lots of totally depraved stuff. Don’t let the resurgence of church discipline fool you. Church discipline, a concept NOT found in the Bible, is only for those who ask questions and do things that could involve the outside world in “family matters.”

You might want to understand the following: making RW Glenn, Mark Driscoll, Doug Phillips, Josh Duggar, Tullian Tchividjian, Bill Gothard, etc., resign from ministry for being who they are and being scandalous while preaching the “scandalous gospel” is not inconsistent if you really understand Protestant doctrine more than Protestants do. Their fall is merely a manifestation of God’s will. The Lord is “sovereign,” and the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

Let me just boil everything down and make it real simple. Protestantism was founded on the idea that all of reality is a salvific metaphysical narrative written by God who created the narrative and all of the characters to complete himself. For the sake of his own glory and self-love which apparently was lacking, God wrote history as a metaphysical redemptive narrative. Stop right where you are now and consider: what you are presently experiencing is part of the prewritten narrative which is all about redemption. The story, and everything about it, brings glory to God.

Consequently, yes, God is supposedly the creator of evil, predetermines who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, and well-being comes from rejoicing in what gives God glory for the sake of his self-love; whatever is in the narrative that he pre-wrote might even include your own damnation. Of course, this makes the most excellent piety an expression of hyper altruism. It is the practical application of John Calvin’s Worm theology.

So, since everything is predetermined for God’s glory, and God is glorified by damnation and salvation alike which are eternal, every verse in the Bible is about salvation, or what we call “justification.” In the final analysis, in accordance with the least common denominator, you MIGHT be saved in the end by living by faith alone in the gospel of sovereignty. To at least have a chance, you must enter the “race of faith” in which the reward is salvation. When you hear folks talk about “sovereign grace,” and the “sovereign gospel,” and the “gospel of sovereignty,” this is what it boils down to. When good Protestants say, “God is in control,” they are not kidding—God is in TOTAL control.

This is why institutional Christians have always lacked wisdom in regard to everyday wisdom and solving the more difficult questions of life (what we call sanctification), because every verse in the Bible is about justification, ie., “what Jesus has done, not anything we do.” As one pastor told me, “I am not going to be distracted from the gospel by counseling people.” Good Protestant pastors farm out counseling to the ACBC where the counseling is “gospel-centered.” And this counseling will give people peace; after all, there is nothing you can do about anything, so stop fighting what God has predetermined. Relax, be happy, everything is predetermined for God’s glory. Got tragedy? Praise the Lord for his glory. Rejoice and be happy for this is the day he has made.

Let’s apply this to what we see on the Christian hillsides littered with dead bodies. According to what I was told by Clearcreek Chapel elder Greg Cook some time ago, counseling guru Stuart Scott is no longer an elder at John MacArthur’s church because Scott’s children were sinners saved by grace acting like sinners. This is the crux: obedience, like every other reality, is determined and delivered by God, not us. So yes, we are in fact sinners, but anything that we do that is good is performed by God, not us. Couple this with what I have heard MacArthur say on the radio: (paraphrase) “Saved obedient children are God’s mark on a man confirming his calling to the ministry.”  See how this works?

Now let’s apply this to Sproul et al. Their punishment is not inconsistent with the idea that they are punished for being what they preach because their fallenness or unfallenness is determined by God. What they did is who they are, and God did not prevent what they did, but regardless, they deserve the punishment. Why? Because God is the potter and we are the clay, and all clay pots are made for his glory whether pots of wrath or pots of glory. Look, read Sproul’s statement about what he did and his suspension, this is written all over it if you know what to look for.

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I can hear the screaming Protestant denials like alley cats in the night while in heat. But what they say reveals the foundations of their Protestant mindset: “It’s God’s will,” or “Lord willing,“ “I didn’t do it, it was the Holy Spirit,” “God is in control,” etc., etc., etc. These statements are NEVER qualified. What’s God’s will? Everything, or just certain categories? If we didn’t do it and the Holy Spirit did it, what do we do, if anything as opposed to what the Spirit does? If we drive somewhere to do a good work, does the Spirit drive the car, or do we drive the car? And if we drive the car, does that qualify as participation in the good work? To what extent is God in control? Not only that, an orientation towards solutions is hardly ever observed, but rather, “we will pray for you.” This is because solutions are irreverent in regard to what God has supposedly predetermined. Our prayers serve to display our “perplexity” as set against God’s omniscience which also gives him glory. Regardless of the circumstance, we don’t pray for a good ending, but for God’s glory, ie., whatever happens.

The hard determinism of Protestantism’s gospel of sovereignty is deluded over the years leaving behind anemic sanctification which causes people to look for a solution. This results in, “Eureka! Here is the problem: we have strayed away from our original gospel!” Hence, enter the New Calvinist movement.

Common sense tells us that this doctrine will lead to, at least, a relaxation of the law, or better stated, a relaxation of love (“If you love me, keep my commandments”), but there is no contradiction in these leaders paying consequences for living out the gospel that they preach…

…whether they obey/love or not is God’s doing which confirms God’s mantle upon them. If anyone loves, it is really God loving himself through the individual. As the Christian song states, “We are empty vessels waiting to be filled.” Wellbeing is defined as seeing yourself as a mere character in God’s prewritten metaphysical narrative and plying whatever predetermined role that gives him glory. If you believe that anything you do is your own choice, you are playing god and writing your own reality.

Now, apply this construct to Sproul’s post and see if it makes any sense. Will any of these guys return to ministry? Only the future reading of God’s narrative will tell…the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

paul

Robert Jones Will Return to Clearcreek Chapel to Teach a Refresher Course on Controlling Parishioners

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 25, 2013

CCCThe New Calvinist movement is much attuned to its European Reformed roots. Though the New Calvinists deny a mentality of equal footing between orthodoxy and Scripture, their endearment to Reformed authority is evident. Though documents like the Westminster Confession and the Calvin Institutes are said to be “subordinate truth,” we must remember that these documents are, “orthodoxy,” and orthodoxy is synonymous with “truth” in Western culture. “Heterodox” is the opposite, and commonly refers to those who oppose the commonly accepted creeds and confessions of the Reformed church.[1]

The fact that these documents were drafted under the auspices of church states is a major consideration. For example, The Westminster Confession of Faith includes specific standards for the enforcement of orthodoxy by the state.[2] The most formidable result of the Enlightenment era, the United States of America, changed all of that. What we clearly have now is a desire to follow the dictates of 17th century Reformed orthodoxy in a post Christian era ruled by the separation of church and state. As an aside, it would be wrong to say the Enlightenment era was anti-Christian; in contrast, it championed freedom of Religion by insisting on the separation of faith and force.

The desire to follow in the footsteps of those who believed in the civil enforcement of orthodoxy poses unique problems for the Neo-Calvinist movement. This created a niche consulting market that specializes in teaching churches how to improvise in an open society. One of the first organizations to exploit this need was Peacemaker Ministries. Founded in 1982, the organization equips church leaders to control parishioners under the pretense of “peace making.”

The present-day New Calvinist movement was born in 1970, and from its beginning spawned massive church splits and conflict. By 1982, an emphasis on damage control would have been in high demand, especially in regard to lawsuits provoked by the heavy-handed leadership style of New Calvinists.

The organization strives to help churches “build a culture of peace.” One way of doing that is through “peacemaking teams.” Keep in mind, organizations like Peacemakers are supported by the institutional church and have no vested interest in obtaining a peaceful solution for individual concerns. Peacemaker Ministries routinely turns a blind eye to the out of control misuse of church discipline in Neo-Calvinist church culture. The excuse PM employs for not getting involved would be funny if not so dastardly: they cite the bogus church discipline itself as a reason to not get involved because they only get involved in controversies between Christians. And since the bogus church discipline has declared the offended party an unbeliever—all bets are off. Again, keep in mind who is paying PM.

On their website, it is stated that the purpose of peacemaking teams is to “serve their leaders and to advance their vision to build his church.” So, it is not true reconciliation that is in mind, or gaining brothers between brothers, but rather a team that diffuses controversy that hinders the leaders’ “vision.”  This is just another tool in the repertoire of control infrastructures common in Neo-Calvinist churches. What these control structures look like is discussed here.

Once again, Robert Jones of Peacemaker Ministries will teach at the annual “Family Enrichment Conference” held at Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio. Jones is scheduled to teach at the 2014 conference. Clearcreek Chapel has a long history of unresolved conflict with many Christians, and is well known for its cult-like heavy-handed leadership style. Since the departure of the founding pastor, Clearcreek has consistently drifted from one conflict to another. The latest controversy involved complaints by parishioners that the Clearcreek elders were teaching “some kind of Christian mysticism.” The Chapel elders recently changed their titles to less controversial words like “overseer” as opposed to “pastor of spiritual formation” etc. In addition, the radical Christian mystic Chad Bresson is no longer on the board of elders, and is seemingly no longer a member there as well.

A Robert Jones tune-up may be well overdue.

paul

1. Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language: World Publishers 1959.

2.  William Marshall: The Principles of the Westminster Standards Persecuting ; D.D., Coupar – Angus. Edinburgh: William Oliphant & Co. 1873. Specific citations: Paul’s Passing Thoughts .com; Inseparable: The Reformation’s Principles of Persecution and its Gospel; Part One – August 31, 2013.

How Paul’s Passing Thoughts Came About

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 19, 2011

There is no doubt that much of  my Christian life will be defined by my stand against New Calvinism. Not long after I became a Christian, my life was providentially moving toward the establishment of this ministry.

Saved in late 1983 in Dallas, Texas, and baptized in the Southern Baptist church in 1984, I began to see serious contradictions between God’s word and what was going on in church. My perception did not come from a limited view; in my early years as a Christian, I went to a major seminary and taught in various types of ministries.

In 1989, I moved back to my hometown in Dayton, Ohio with my family, and living the Christian life according to biblical generalities had taken its toll. In 1990, and by God’s providence, I was led to Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio (a suburb of Dayton). Pastor John Street  had implemented NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) counseling at the Chapel, and that counseling turned my life around. The Chapel also became a NANC  counseling center for pastors. In 1994, I was asked to serve as an elder and accepted. I served as an elder for five years. At that time, elders were reconfirmed by a congregational vote every three years. I was confirmed by the congregation twice.

In 1997/98(?), “pastor” Russ Kennedy returned to the Chapel after leaving in controversy for a pastorate in Illinois. That was in the early 90’s, and he returned to the Chapel after (unknown to most at the Chapel) being dismissed from his post in Illinois. According to a family member and close friend of Kennedy,  he was dismissed for plagiarizing a John Piper sermon. During the time of his return, DA Carson and Jerry Bridges were invited to speak at our church. I realize now that he was probably behind that. I was out of town when Carson spoke, but remember thinking that the following statement from Bridges was rather odd: “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Though I thought the statement was odd, I brushed it aside and thought no more of it. Little did I know how much that little phrase would one day change my life!

Russ Kennedy was considered for eldership in 1999. In preparation for a forum to consider his appointment, he produced a sixteen-page booklet that outlined his doctrinal beliefs and philosophy of ministry. It is now evident, twelve years later, that he had totally bought into Gospel Sanctification, Sonship Theology, and New Covenant Theology at that time. Reading the booklet presently, I can only shake my head in disbelief as I read what he stated on page six concerning sanctification: “I believe that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification….” There it is: sanctification by justification—if it was a snake it would have bit me. He also stated that this sanctification is known as “progressive sanctification” which is the usual deceptive term used by New Calvinists to describe the unorthodox concept of progressive justification.

Kennedy was affirmed, and right away things started getting weird. In the first elder’s meeting he attended, I was immediately taken aback by his heavy-handed style of leadership. I had to insist that a softer approach be taken concerning a miscommunication between Chapel elders and some students we were supporting at Master’s Seminary; specifically, a phone call for clarification verses a formal letter of rebuke from the elders. Shortly thereafter, I stepped aside as an elder for personal reasons (1/10/1999), but continued to teach at the Chapel. During this same time, a group of men from Emmanuel Baptist church in Dayton, Ohio started showing up. Dale Evans, Chad Bresson, Greg Cook, and Tom Watkins. This also coincided with the announcement by John Street that he was leaving the Chapel for a ministry in California.

I am unaware of how Kennedy knew this group of men who came over from Emmanuel, but they were all of New Covenant Theology persuasion and followers of Chad Bresson. All of this group except for Watkins ended up being elders at the Chapel after John Street departed (2000). We should pause here and examine their mindset that set the table for events following. This is an excerpt from this ministry’s book, “The Truth About New Calvinism” page 131:

This whole Reformation motif was started by the Forum which taught that all doctrines either fall into the objective gospel or subjective experience. Subjective spirituality was supposedly spawned by Rome and resulted in a reversal of justification and sanctification. Therefore, the Reformers rediscovered the objective gospel which ignited the Reformation, and also taught that the job wasn’t done (semper reformanda), and you can imagine who contemporary New Calvinists think that duty has fallen to. This is all covered in chapter four along with documentation concerning the fact that John Piper, one of the “elder statesmen” of the New Calvinist movement agrees with that scenario. This us against them mentality was passed down from the Forum and blossoms in the movement to this very day. They are the children of the Reformers—we are Rome.

And this arrogance translates into a predominant characteristic of New Calvinism: heavy-handed leadership style. As far as New Calvinists are concerned, evangelicals have been leading people into hell for the past 100 years (their estimation of when semper reformanda was lost) and any interference with the “unadjusted gospel” will be dealt with—no holds barred.

And such was the case at Clearcreek Chapel. After John Street left, changes were swift and radical. Russ Kennedy was appointed to replace Street, but we were clueless as to what he really believed. The front doors of the Chapel had barely hit Street in the backside before a marked difference in the preaching was noticed. A friend of mine referred to it as “flyby preaching.” Many left the Chapel shortly thereafter because “things are getting weird,” but really didn’t know why. Eventually, even though the elder over adult education was part of the old guard and called on me to teach from time to time, I declined because of  the open hostility towards my teachings from the Emmanuel crowd.

All in the same year: my mentor left; I stepped aside as an elder; stepped aside as a teacher; and found it difficult to wrap my mind around what was going on with the new leadership. I started investing  more time at work and began traveling a lot, but still stayed connected to the Chapel body.  In 2003, I began discussing a business partnership with two core members at the Chapel, Matt and Sheelah Beaver. About the same time, something strange happened. The aforementioned  Greg Cook, who I never really related to well, and always felt uncomfortable around, offered to start meeting with me every Monday morning for breakfast to discuss business, and offer advice on being the sales manager for the company that was being formed by the Beavers and me. Not long after that, I started attending a Friday morning men’s fellowship, and upon my attendance, an elder by the name of Dan Turner also started attending. I began to notice a pattern—I was being monitored.

It is important to share this testimony about Clearcreek Chapel because it is typical of many New Calvinist churches and where they end up because of their mindset concerning semper reformanda. Frankly, they become cultish. In fact, as we shall see, Clearcreek Chapel possesses all eight points that constitute a cult by Cultwatch.com. The first point is Deception. Cultwatch says the following about the first point:

A cult needs to recruit and operate using deception. Why? Because if people knew their true practices and beliefs beforehand, then they would not join. A cult needs to hide the truth from you until they think you are ready to accept it.

New Calvinist leaders are not hasty to reveal to people that they believe the Reformation was about the “false gospel of the new birth” and that you are either with them or the Roman Catholics. Neither are they hasty to introduce their ministries as part of the original Reformation. It is clear that the Clearcreek elders spoon-fed the congregation over a number of years. When one member started raising questions about New Covenant Theology, a gag order was placed on him and he was told by elder Chad Bresson that NCT would be taught when the members “were ready.”

The second point is Exclusiveness. This speaks for itself. To say that New Calvinists believe they have an exclusive doctrine would be a gargantuan understatement. This mindset is fertile ground for cultism.

A third point described by Cultwatch is a Reporting Structure. The Chapel clearly had a reporting/monitoring structure—primarily through the elders, and I assume they still do. The Chapel has three times the number of elders that is prescribed by church consulting groups for a church their size. When I was a member there—it was clear that elders were used to monitor the congregation.

In 2004, I parted ways with the Beavers; they took the retail part of the company, and I took the service part and started my own company. That was the agreement. The separation was overseen by Greg Cook and all parties agreed to it. In 2006, I began redoubling my efforts to become closer to the Clearcreek Chapel “family.” I had a large tolerance for the ongoing weirdness; it’s the only church my children knew, my daughter and son-in-law were married by Russ Kennedy, and after twenty years of membership, all of the “friends” that I had were there.

That’s when the problems started. Questions I was asking in Sunday School couldn’t be answered. The first problem was that the Chapel elders were asking long time core members to teach their doctrine when the members had no idea what they were teaching. They were given the material and told to merely read through it. One or two elders would then be assigned to that class to monitor the outcome. This was obviously done to give the doctrine credibility with the Chapel members. At least one parishioner resented being used in that way and told me so (Terri Engle). The problems started for me in a class where Greg Simmons was “co-teaching” a class with elder Mark Schindler. It became obvious that Simmons had no idea what he was teaching, and frankly, I didn’t either.

Another individual in the class was also asking difficult questions. He was telephoned by elder Chad Bresson and put under a gag order. I was called into a meeting with two elders (Devon Berry and Mark Schindler) and told that members were concerned about the questions I was asking. I pointed out that Matthew 18 was being ignored and that if those individuals had a problem with me, they needed to come to me “alone.” The response was: “They don’t have a problem with you, they are just ‘concerned.’” To this day, I contend that there was no “they” because several members were  thanking me for the questions I was asking because, “I don’t know enough about theology to even know how to ask the questions I want to ask.”

The elders were beginning to lose credibility, so core members were removed and replaced with elders; and that didn’t go any better—now several other people were asking difficult questions. Then all of the Sunday Schools were combined into the auditorium to be taught by the big gun—Russ Kennedy. That didn’t go well either. The whole situation was becoming a comedy of confusion. Then one night, while relaxing in my living room, there was a knock on the door. When I answered, I was surprised to see three elders standing at my door, Mark Schindler, Greg Cook, and Devon Berry. They had inappropriately prearranged the meeting with my wife for obvious shock and awe effect (element of surprise by coming unannounced—plus three of them which is very unusual).  Surprisingly, the meeting was not about doctrinal issues, but a “concern” for the difficulties I was having with my company. However, Mark Schindler had the audacity to suggest that I not be concerned about doctrinal issues “for at least two years.” I remember thinking, “That should give you enough time to assimilate the doctrine (whatever it is) into the minds of our people.” What was going on was completely obvious. This brings me to another Cultwatch element, Intimidation. This meeting was designed to intimidate, and several members who thanked me for asking questions would do so stealthily—wanting to encourage me to do so while being too fearful of the Chapel elders to do so themselves. The climate of fear at the Chapel was evident.

There were several of these kinds of meetings in the months following. During that time, the Chapel elders offered to pay for my CE in fire inspection—I declined for obvious reasons. By December 2007, I still had very little idea what these guys were teaching. My best guess was that they were enamored by New Covenant Theology, Christian Hedonism, Heart Theology, and Redemptive-Historical hermeneutics, and were trying to devise their own system that unified these theologies into a consistent system. However,  unknown to me at the time, that was already a done deal—they were propagating a prepackaged system that had already accomplished that. Whether you want to call it the centrality of the objective gospel, Sonship Theology, or New Covenant Theology, that was their package. I submitted my letter to the elders in December of 2007 and departed with my family. We began to attend Grace Covenant Church in Beavercreek, Ohio. The church is pastored by a former associate pastor of the Chapel, Rick Wilson.

After my departure, and apparently due to being called on it previously, Mark Schindler and Devon Berry called and asked for a prearranged meeting with me. However, Schindler lied about the purpose of the meeting. When they arrived, and much to my surprise, they announced that they were putting me under the  “first step of church discipline.” Already upset about leaving my church family of  twenty years, this turn of events stunned and confused me. I collected my thoughts enough to ask for specifics. Four reasons were given: 1. Sewing discord among the brethren. 2. Worldly sorrow 3. Slothfulness 4. Walking in darkness. I thought number three to be interesting because I knew I had a reputation at the Chapel for being too focused on work. When I asked for clarification on number three, Schindler corrected Berry and said that wasn’t one of the reasons, so these two elders were not even on the same page regarding the purpose of the discipline. I asked for time to consider whether or not I would submit to the discipline, and such was granted, but I also knew what would happen if I refused to submit regardless of the fact that I had already submitted a letter of departure.

The next day I contacted Rick Wilson. He didn’t know what to make of the situation. However, a former elder from the Chapel suggested that the situation was driven by Russ Kennedy reliving visions of Illinois. Rick Wilson’s counsel was probably apt for the moment; the best I can remember: “Look Paul, you have been there twenty years. Go back and take their concerns seriously, and then take your family and leave in peace.” That’s what I did, but if I didn’t do anything else correctly, I was smart about one thing: I insisted that they put the reasons for the church discipline in writing. This took about two weeks of my insistence because it was evident that they did not want to do this. When I finally got the letter, two reasons were stated. 1. Love your wife according to Ephesians chapter five. 2. Find a different job. They refused to put any of the initial four reasons in writing. When I finally got the letter, I met with Rick Wilson at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, his treat, and he was completely perplexed by the letter and didn’t know how to respond.

I returned to address the issues, but in every meeting with the elders, NEW ISSUES were introduced. The whole situation became very confusing. Two months later, I announced to the elders that I was leaving the discipline. I was sternly warned that I would be excommunicated and declared an unbeliever before the congregation. I later found out that controlling a person in any way via threat of personal loss, including reputation, was a felony listed as Coercion under Ohio kidnapping laws. Another month later, it became evident that I was going to have to embrace their doctrine before I was released from the church discipline. That’s why New Calvinists call it “redemptive church discipline.” The goal is not to correct behavior, but to bring the individual into a “redemptive understanding of sanctification.” Hence, all of my meetings with the elders were break sessions attempting to use what I call “law negative” in The Truth About New Calvinism to show me that it is impossible for a Christian to keep the law in our “own efforts.”  In fact, to attempt to do so in sanctification is an attempt to duplicate the fruits of justification; so for all practical purposes, justification by works. That’s why the elders continued to bring up more and more issues in our meetings while I was under their church discipline. As I saw my failures and a second step of church discipline looming on the horizon, I was supposed to break down and cry out, “I cannot keep it—someone must keep the law for me!” I cite New Calvinist Bill Baldwin in the book to illustrate this twisted reality concerning New Calvinism. This also explains why Mark Schindler was baptized again shortly after John Street left. Apparently, he repented, leaving Rome and joining semper reformanda.

Meanwhile, my missionary son-in-law and daughter came back on furlough from Puerto Rico and become intimately involved in the situation. Upon his counsel and the counsel of other pastors, I walked away from the discipline and took my family to Rick Wilson’s church. Shortly thereafter, Berry and Schindler came to my house on a Saturday evening and warned me not to leave. I in turn warned them that God would judge all things in the end. The next morning I was excommunicated before the congregation and declared an unbeliever. No reasons were given; the congregation was left to their own imaginations. Many who I had ministered to in the past simply assumed that I had committed adultery against Shirley and was unrepentant. In fact, a member of the Chapel recently told an acquaintance of mine that they were told such accordingly. In a meeting with myself, Mark Schindler, and Rick Wilson, Schindler pathetically denied that deliberate form of slander by saying that the elders mentioned in their statement to the congregation that I disagreed with the discipline. No kidding?  I bet they were surprised to hear that! Adulterers rarely agree with church discipline. No?

Upon arrival at Grace Covenant with my family, Shirley and I entered marriage counseling with pastor Wilson. In our first counseling session, Wilson asked Shirley what it would look like for me to repent of the reasons I was  brought up on church discipline. She didn’t know. In fact, she said she wasn’t sure why I was brought up on discipline.  During this time, and unknown to me or Wilson, the Clearcreek elders privately submitted a six-page resolution to my wife commanding her to return to the Chapel without me. The statement  painstakingly documented all of my sins against Shirley, which excluded verbal accusations they were making to Chapel parishioners at home Bible studies. The document also gave her the green light to divorce me based on three biblical abandonment  principles of not supplying need: love; sex; financial needs. A copious note written by Shirley on the document is telling: “Is it still abandonment if 3, or 2 of the 3 are provided?”  Also, I submitted full financial disclosure to Wilson which he also forwarded to the Chapel elders. I found the document in Shirley’s Bible. It also included a promise of a job, financing of a divorce attorney, and housing. Had Wilson been copied on the document, it could have been used to address specific issues in our counseling, but the document was given to Shirley in secret. They also stated to Shirley in the document that I had no authority over her because I had been declared an unbeliever by the Clearcreek elders. According them,  they were the ones who had the authority in her life, and they were instructing her to return to the Chapel. At that same time, they instructed parishioners to barrage Shirley with cards and letters. Cultwatch calls this technique, Love Bombing.

During that time, I began receiving emails from a Clearcreek parishioner. Here are some excerpts:

So what ended up happening, is all these clues started to add up. The major one was how they responded to your being “given the boot” so to speak… I was there when they first announced it in service, and later on, in flock when Dan brought it up “in order to allay [or prevent…] our questions and concerns”. You probably already know basically what we were told- not to visit your website, not to engage debate with you- to trust our elders who knew so much more than we did from having spent so much time “in” the situation. And shortly after that, was when they implemented the security measures, in a not-so-concealed and vague way, they certainly implied you or someone on your behalf may pose a serious threat. I of course went to search out the website immediately, I’m sorry but even the apostle Paul encouraged the church to search the Scriptures for themselves- to my knowledge he never demands our unconditional trust of himself, or anyone but the Lord.

The website that the parishioner is speaking of is a website constructed by my son-in-law to confront the Clearcreek congregation for breaking up our family. The website, eldersresolution.org contains substantial documentation for purposes of ascertaining the truth in the situation. But the parishioner’s testimony is also indicative of  two more points by Cultwatch: Relationship Control  and Information Control. Regarding the first, Cultwatch says, “Beware of a group that tells you who you can and cannot see.” Regarding information control, Cultwatch states, “If you are instructed by a group not to read information critical of the group, then that is a sign of a cult.”

Regarding the motives of the Chapel elders, this email was interesting:

Even after this, I continued to attend Clearcreek. But more questions arose, especially concerning church discipline. More and more it seemed they selected the ppl for discipline, while others were left alone. I am a prime example. I realize they don’t have the resources to follow everyone around, but I was even living with my [boyfriend/girlfriend (info withheld to protect identity of parishioner)] at one point and [name of elder withheld to protect identity of parishioner] just eventually quit talking to me- though my membership remains and I was never brought up on any “charges”. I’d been in counseling for much of the entire time I attended. There are more strange happenings, but I won’t get into all of it.

The above was going on while I was literally being held hostage at the Chapel under a bogus church discipline. The Chapel elders severely overestimated the congregations ability to think for themselves or to take a stand. They should have just let it all go. But they continued to try to cover bad decisions with more bad decisions. And as time goes on, they are telling more lies to try to cover for prior lies.

Though these events are tragic, I can now see where they have equipped me to contend against this false doctrine. My story is by no means isolated or unique. I think Clearcreek Chapel is typical of the kind of ministries that are being spawned by New Calvinism. In fact, I know it is. This has given me the drive necessary to research this doctrine in order to learn more and more about it and warn others. And to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Because only truth sanctifies (John 17:17).

paul

%d bloggers like this: